Politics

MPP Hillier’s decision to not seek re-election welcomed by some municipal officials


“He has been gone for a long time for us.”

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PERTH — Early in his video, when he announced he would not seek re-election in June, controversial MPP Randy Hillier acknowledged his announced departure would be welcomed by many.

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He was right about that.

“He has been gone for a long time for us,” Central Frontenac Township Mayor Fran Smith said Friday.

“I am happy that someone who is interested in actually representing our constituents will be elected, regardless of the party. Randy needs to be done!”

Hillier, who has represented ridings around the Kingston area since 2007, announced Thursday night he would not seek re-election in the riding of Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston in the June 2 provincial election.

“Our political system is broken. There is no sense spending any more time trying to fix a broken system from within when the problem lies without,” Hillier said in an almost 21-minute video posted to social media. “We are living in a dishonest age, where honesty has no value anymore, where dishonesty is the currency of politics.

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“I’ve come to the conclusion that there is not a political solution to what ails our society, the division, the polarization, the animus, the censorship, the suppression of views. These will not be fixed politically.”

Although Hillier has been an MPP for 15 years, first elected as a Progressive Conservative in the riding to Lanark–Frontenac–Lennox and Addington in 2007. In his video, he talked almost exclusively about his actions in the past two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hillier, who was kicked out of the PC party in 2019, criticized the provincial and federal political systems, other politicians at all levels of government, the media and the public health measures meant to reduce the spread of the virus, efforts Hillier said “trampled” citizens’ rights and freedoms.

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Last month, he was a vocal supporter of the protest that occupied much of downtown Ottawa.

Almost a year ago, Kingston city council unanimously passed a motion calling out Hillier’s criticism of COVID-19 measures as “reckless and dangerous” and “wilful propagation of misinformation” out of step with the rest of the community.

Prior to that, South Frontenac Township passed a motion stating that the municipal council did not support Hillier’s actions and that “this is not the way in which the Township of South Frontenac wishes to have this riding represented.”

“Up until a few years ago, he was very supportive in assisting to resolve issues that we brought to his attention, including those with the drug crisis experience across Ontario,” said Frontenac Islands Township Mayor Denis Doyle, whose township is not in Hillier’s riding, but is part of Frontenac County, where Doyle sits on county council.

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“Since siting as an independent MPP, we have had little contact as the positions that he took did not support the majority of wishes of the constituents that he was elected to represent, nor did he accept the science-based data that public health COVID-19 safety measures were based on,” Doyle said.

Doyle entered municipal politics at the same time as Hillier entered provincial politics and was also chair of the board of Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health, which was tasked with implementing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, measures Hillier criticized as undemocratic overreaches by the government.

Hillier promised that he would continue to speak out against the “corporate democracy” that he said had taken over governments at all levels.

“The only solution, the only way we can ever get back to a free and prosperous country, have a country that does have a representative democracy, a country that does respect the rule of law, human rights, our civil liberties, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, is if we re-engage with people and help shape public opinion, help people understand the value of freedom,” he said.

“I’ll continue to be outspoken and I’ll continue to be a voice for freedom and I look forward continuing to work with so many good people who do recognize the danger.”

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